Nantes was pretty lucky during World War II: unlike a lot of French cities, it wasn’t totally destroyed by bombings.
Class struggle is still omnipresent in France. Because politics is a national pastime, people like to describe themselves as “à droite” (right-wing), “à gauche” (left-wing), “soixante-huitard” (a person who either participated in the May 1968 Movement or has Utopian ideas) etc.
If you follow the Loire river from downtown, you will find a bridge that crosses to the “isle of Nantes”, a former shipyard turned into a leisure and cultural site.
We flew to France yesterday, and after our travels in Latin America, where airport security is straightforwards and quite basic, it was a shock.
In the Andes, especially in Bolivia, mate de coca was a great option. It is basically a tea of coca leaves: as the Bolivians say, “la hoja de coca no es droga” (Coke leaf is not a drug). Maybe not a drug, but it is supposed to help with soroche, altitude sickness. I’m a big tea drinker, especially of green tea, and I did like the taste of the beverage.
Latinos apparently have a sweet tooth: there were panaderías (bakery) just about anywhere!
The first Argentinian city we went to was Ushuaia, in Tierra Del Fuego. Because of its geographical location — it is the Southernmost city in the world, stuck at the tip of the Americas, right in front of Antarctica — food was quite expensive. We ended up cooking in hostels a lot throughout all Patagonia for the same reason. But once back to civilization, in Buenos Aires, we truly got to enjoy the gastronomy.
Food in Bolivia is quite basic, and there aren’t many supermarkets (if at all). Sanitation isn’t the country’s strong point either, and even though there were many food stalls in La Paz, I skipped on those. However, Copacabana, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, had some of the best fish I have ever had.
In, Central America, as well as in Peru, you just need to know three words to order food: arroz (rice), frijoles (beans) and pollo (chicken). Makes life easy, doesn’t it! However, the food may be quite basic, and at one point, you’ll be desperate for something other than chicken. I mean, how much chicken can one eat???
We both loved our trip in Central and South America. And now that we are home again in Canada, we thought about it: what were the best places, the best cities that we saw… and what were the worst experiences?
The city hasn’t changed… I guess it never really does. It’s both comfortable and slightly disturbing to slip into our old lives, like nothing happened.
Hello frozen hell… we are flying back to Canada.
On our second day, we crossed again to Brazil to visit the other side of the waterfalls. While the Argentinian side allows close-up, the Brazilian side is the grand overview — and what a view! The misty atmosphere made great rainbows too.
On our way back to Argentina, we couldn´t miss the greatest waterfalls in South America: Iguazú.
The falls are located between Argentina and Brazil. The national parks have a total of 275 falls (!), some over 80 meters tall! Basically, just when you think you took the perfect picture, there is another better waterfalls just around the corner.
By the time we got to Rio de Janeiro, we started to look for plane tickets back home. But they were very expensive, so we knew we had to come back to Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
No worries. We bused back, stopping in Florianópolis and in Curitiba, enjoying the beautiful beaches alon
The iconic Sugar Loaf is the best spot in Rio for the thrill of the cable-car ride, for the small hikes on top of the Urca mountain, for the views over Rio and for the sunsets. Lucky us, we got it all!
Rio de Janeiro is most famous for its picture-perfect beaches, mostly Copacabana and Ipanema.
We attended the Parade of the Champions, featuring the best samba schools in Rio, who had the whole night to show off. We took the subway to the stadium, with — it seemed — half of Rio. A lot of performers were already wearing their customs in the subway, and I got a hug from two ¨golden guys¨ who put glitters all over me.
The bus station was okay, but as we took the hostel street, we stepped in the water, knee-deep. We managed to get back to the hostel (barefeet) where we learned Paraty floods quite often.
Now, as I said before, I do not speak Portuguese. Cachoeira sounded like cascada in Spanish, so I was pretty sure we were going to see waterfalls. I didn’t give much thought to the Tobogã part of the story.
We could not resist trying that out (and take pictures!). We basically fell into the sticky gooey mud pit, and covered ourselves with a thick layer. Yes, it does stink a bit but the mud is quite clean.
Every night, the Carnival started around 10:00, to finish around sunrise. Blocos all over the place were leading people in the old town and there were always some drummers getting ready somewhere.
A bloco had gathered on Roberto Silveira, the main avenue. A trio-eléctrico (huge truck with speakers, a sound system and singers on top of it) was blasting cheery brazilian music and the drummers behind were setting up a rope-off area. The truck started moving, the drummers started playing and we all followed in the street of Paraty, dancing all night long to the sound of the samba of the Carnival.
The owner of the internet café was Brazilian. He asked us where we would spend the Carnival, and at the time, we were not sure. He told us to check out Paraty, a small city four hours from Rio de Janeiro. We did not know anything about it. Yet, we went… and we were not disappointed.